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Williamson says NZ can take valuable learnings from ‘frustrating’ T20WC campaign

Last updated on 18 Jun 2024 | 05:00 AM
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Williamson says NZ can take valuable learnings from ‘frustrating’ T20WC campaign

T20WC 2024 saw NZ fail to make it to the final four of a World Cup for the first time in eight years

Heading into this T20 World Cup, New Zealand had reached at least the semi-final of every white-ball World Cup (T20 and 50-over) since 2016. They entered this particular edition undercooked but were still expected to be a significant threat due to the experience they possessed. 

But the campaign instead ended up turning into one of New Zealand’s worst showings in a tournament in this entire century, with the Blackcaps getting knocked out after just two matches. The Kiwis ended their T20WC campaign with two wins and two losses, but the humbling at the hands of Afghanistan, and the agonising defeat against hosts West Indies, ended up sealing their fate in the matter of days.

Speaking after the side’s final game of this T20WC against Papua New Guinea, skipper Kane Williamson labeled the campaign as a ‘frustrating’ one. But he asserted that, despite the less-than-ideal outcome, there were still positives to take out of this campaign.

“I mean, it took a long time to start, and then in a matter of days, we were sort of not in contention, which was frustrating. We wanted to start the campaign strong, and we weren't able to do that,” Williamson said after the PNG game.

“We played against a couple of very strong sides who are very well equipped in these conditions and unfortunately it was the difference in our first two games and then some decent cricket in the last two, so all in all frustrating. 

“But I think the learnings for certainly players that come back, perhaps to this part of the world or in some of these conditions, they’ve been somewhat challenging and so some good experiences to have going forward.”

This particular edition of the T20WC has been the lowest scoring T20WC in history, and Williamson summed up the entire experience of this campaign as ‘unique’. He hoped for all individuals who were part of this campaign to emerge from the other side as ‘better’ players, having battled extremely challenging conditions.

“It's been really unique, a unique experience for all the guys. We always love coming to the Caribbean, it's a fantastic place to be. The conditions have been challenging I think for batters all around, but it's just about trying to find a way. 

“For us, it's been a short tournament, it would have been nice to have spent a bit more time here and after perhaps gaining a little bit of knowledge about how these wickets play, but not to be so. Yeah, it's moving on and trying to be better for the experience.”

The 2024 T20WC was Williamson’s sixth as a player. And the New Zealand skipper, who entered the competition short of match practice in the shortest format, had a tournament to forget, amassing just 28 runs across three innings at an average of 14.00.

Williamson will be close to 36 by the time the next T20WC comes about. Will the right-hander still be playing T20s two years down the line?

“Oh, I don't know,” Williamson said, talking about his future in T20Is and T20 World Cups.

“There's a bit of time between now and then, so it's regrouping as a side. And yeah, we've sort of got Red Ball cricket over the next year basically. So yeah, it's back into some international other formats and yeah, see where things land.”

‘Boult an amazing servant of our game’

While it’s unclear if Williamson will participate in the 2026 T20WC, one person who has made it official that he won’t be playing in World Cups, going forward, is Trent Boult. The left-arm seamer, who is now a T20 freelancer, had a farewell tournament to remember, taking 9 wickets at an average of 6.55 and economy of 3.68. He ends his T20WC career as New Zealand’s second-highest wicket-taker in the competition, having picked 34 wickets at an economy of 5.9.

Williamson was full of praise for the veteran speedster, who on June 17 (Monday) against PNG played his final T20WC game for the Blackcaps.

“Yeah, I mean, he's been an amazing servant of our game and like you mentioned, we've sort of grown up playing together from age group cricket, the ages of sort of 10, 11 and really followed a similar path and what he's been able to do in the game, not just for New Zealand but really recognition from all around the world, a skill set, a strong desire to keep getting better and to be at the stage of his career that he is at the moment. 

“Still bowling beautifully, still fit, and strong is a testament to all the work that he's put in. And from us in the inner sanctum, he's always brought a great energy, a real willingness to compete, and a big player for us that's difficult to replace. But I think when somebody puts the time that he has into the black cap and the effort he's put into his country, it paves the way for new players to come through and see a standard that's been set and I think he can be really proud of that.”

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